Cobra Kai Season 1: A complete recap & review

COBRA KAI - SEASON 1 - EPISODE 105 - Courtesy of Mark Hill/YouTube Red/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television/Netflix
COBRA KAI - SEASON 1 - EPISODE 105 - Courtesy of Mark Hill/YouTube Red/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television/Netflix /

Cobra Kai Season 1 was full of kicks, flips, and homages to Karate Kid.

I stumbled across Cobra Kai by chance, I was actually just looking for the 1980’s cult classic on Netflix. However, after the first episode, the karate and choreography single-handedly kept my interested peaked before even getting into the great story.

Season one follows Johnny Lawrence, a man in his mid-50’s who can’t let go of his 1984 All-Valley Karate Championship loss to lifetime rival Daniel LaRusso.

After losing his job Lawrence’s car is involved in a hit and run which brings his rival back into his life. As LaRusso considers Lawrence an old friend, it is not mutual, which motivates Lawrence to train Miguel, a new resident in his housing complex, and reopen Cobra Kai.

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Following the reopening of the dojo, Lawrence slowly-but-surely trains Miguel, who confronts bullies, who have tormenting him and also Samantha, the daughter of Daniel LaRusso. The display of karate has Miguel defeating all of the bullies before the video goes viral and Cobra Kai gets more business.

Cobra Kai is back in business as Johnny Lawrence gains a mass of students.

Johnny Lawrence is not very fond of his students, but Cobra Kai is shortly filled with a group of outcasts, looking to learn from him and start to defend themselves. Through Lawrence’s old-school mindset, he inputs that they shouldn’t take disrespect from anyone, which becomes a seed of evil later in the series.

While Sensei Lawrence is teaching his class of outcasts how to fight, Miguel convinces Lawrence to apply for the dojo to compete in the All-Valley tournament. While Lawrence fights to get the dojo unbanned(from their actions in the ’80s), Miguel and Samantha begin to see each other creating a web of now love and karate.

After Lawrence planting doubt in Miguel, the LaRusso’s hire and begin to mentor Lawrence’s son, Robby(unaware of his family history), which makes Miguel think that Samantha is ashamed to be with him and is with Robby.

This fuels Cobra Kai going into the All-Valley Championship before Lawrence finds out that Miguel and disgruntled student Hawk begin to fight dirty, making Lawrence realize that his teaching are following suit behind his terrible teachings from the ’80s. After Miguel defeats Robby in the championships, Lawrence decides that the dojo should begin to teach honor and wants to move past his horrible past. Then his Sensei Kreese enters his dojo and praises him for resurrecting Cobra Kai, reprised by Martin Kove as reported by Show Snob.

Overall this show was extremely entertaining and revived interest in one of the best cult classics. The subtle homages and themes peak through the show at every conflict. Fans get to see the perspective of Lawrence as he tries to better his life and help these outcasts learn self-defense and confidence.

The choreography alone in this show was amazing with perfectly placed kicks, hits, and counters. The camera placement on these fights is so fun to see and the final All-Valley Championship tournament has amazing moves and nods to the original.

Cobra Kai is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time and if you are looking for some great plot and fights then I highly recommend giving this show a shot.

Mekeisha Madden Toby of Variety praised the show and stated the following:

"“Cobra Kai is an entertaining ride into a forgotten world of underdogs.”"

The show was critically-acclaimed on Rotten Tomatoes with a whopping 100% on the Tomatometer.

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